Ms. Marvel (1st series) #3

Issue Date: 
March 1977
Story Title: 
The Lady’s Not for Killing!

Chris Claremont (writer), Gerry Conway (plot), John Buscema (penciler), Joe Sinnott (inker), John Costanza (letterer), Don Warfield (colorist), Archie Goodwin (editor)

Brief Description: 

Ms. Marvel continues her battle against the Destructor and narrowly manages to defeat the would-be villain. AIM comes to his rescue as Ms. Marvel struggles to stay conscious long enough to save the lives of innocent bystanders. Battered and bewildered, Ms. Marvel realizes that her past is still a mystery and one that is becoming increasingly frustrating. Carol Danvers has to contend with being behind on her work but gets a great story from an old friend at NASA. She travels to Cape Canaveral where her pal Salia Petrie is about to become the first female astronaut. Carol is unaware that AIM is planning to sabotage the NASA launch using the powerful robot called Doomsday Man. A seventh sense premonition calls forth Ms. Marvel who battles the Doomsday Man to a standstill. When the woman warrior finds herself near the cave where Mar-Vell battled Yon-Rogg, she is inextricably drawn there. Being in that place helps Ms. Marvel recall her origins and she finally realizes that she and Carol Danvers are one and the same!

Full Summary: 

Ms. Marvel uses a lamppost to support herself as she tries to rise after taking a full-force tachyon blast from her foe the Destructor. Mere feet away, the Destructor AKA Dr. Kerwin Korman also struggles to shake off the latest blow he received from the woman warrior. As the two fighters struggle to rise, onlookers stand back close enough to see what’s happening but far enough to be out of harm’s way.
The Destructor makes it to his feet first and moves to finish Ms. Marvel off. She is warned by her seventh sense and pulls the lamppost out of the ground to use as a weapon. Korman curses her seventh sense and unleashes his tachyon beam which destroys the lamppost. He tells her that she can throw a building at him with her Kree-born strength and his tachyon beam will destroy it, too.
Ms. Marvel wonders how the Destructor knows of her seventh sense and Kree origins as she flies in close and punches him square in the jaw. As she does so, he fires another tachyon blast and she is too close to dodge! She is thrown back onto a broken fire hydrant that is spewing water. She blocks the flow of water momentarily with her body and allows the pressure to build before redirecting it in a single powerful stream at the Destructor. This blow knocks Korman unconscious.

Ms. Marvel has little time to enjoy her victory before another splitting headache strikes. A bit dazed from this and the lingering effects of the battle, she is unprepared for what happens next. The ground below Destructor splits open and a high-tech transport emerges. AIM agents pour out and lay down a barrage of laser fire to cover their attempt to extract Korman.
Ms. Marvel manages to avoid the beams which strike a nearby apartment building instead. She leaps into action to save a pair of children from a collapsing wall, pushing herself despite the pain she still feels from the Destructor’s tachyon beam. She succeeds in saving the kids, but AIM manages to escape with Korman.
Ms. Marvel realizes that both Korman and the AIM agents seem familiar but she is unable to remember why. The children thank her and apologize for allowing the bad guys to get away. Ms. Marvel graciously tells them that she’d rather save lives than catch bad guys.

Ms. Marvel flies away and takes a moment’s rest on a nearby rooftop. She ponders the strange mysteries surrounding her identity and is frustrated that the harder she tries to learn the truth the more mixed up things get. She punches a wall and marvels at her superhuman strength. But when her head once more begins to throb with pain, Ms. Marvel is overwhelmed. A moment later, she transforms into Carol Danvers and collapses on the rooftop.
Disoriented, Carol realizes she is on the roof of the Daily Bugle building and wonders how she got there. She makes her way inside and is greeted by her staff and Mary Jane Watson, who is waiting for her in her office. MJ notes how terrible Carol looks and Carol declines MJ’s offers to help. She rather abruptly asks Mary Jane to leave her alone so that she can get some work done. Carol silently chides herself for treating MJ that way but admits that she has a bit too much to deal with at work and with her current identity crisis to deal with MJ.

While sorting through the pile of papers that have accumulated on her desk, Carol reads a phone message detailing a call from her old friend, Salia Petrie an astronaut at NASA. Salia reports that she is part of the flight crew for a secret launch happening soon, making her the first female astronaut. Carol sees the story potential in covering Salia’s historic launch for WOMAN magazine. Her planning is interrupted by a brief phone call from Dr. Michael Barnett, who is eager to discuss his discoveries during their recent hypnosis session. Overwhelmed by work, Carol quickly declines his invitation to meet and hangs up before he has a chance to tell her the startling secret he learned: that she and Ms. Marvel are one and the same!
Carol takes her story idea to J. Jonah Jameson, who naturally objects to the idea of a woman astronaut. He tries to assign a man to cover the launch but Carol insists on writing the story up herself. She assures Jameson that the Daily Bugle will get to break the initial story while WOMAN handles the in-depth coverage and interviews. Jameson is none too pleased, especially when Carol slams the door to his office. As she leaves, he grumbles about women and where they ever got the idea that they were any good outside the kitchen.

Under a shabby department store in the Bronx lies the secret lair of AIM. Within, AIM agents strive to subjugate the will of Dr. Kerwin Korman using some kind of mind control device. This is their way of punishing the Destructor for his failure in capturing Ms. Marvel. The AIM agents continue to torture Korman but turn the main focus of their attention on a planned rocket launch by NASA that they believe threatens the success of several projects they have in the works. To counter the launch, AIM activates a rocket of their own carrying a mysterious and powerful device. The AIM team wonders if the force they are about to unleash is truly under their control or like the Cosmic Cube, a force that is not meant to be controlled by mere mortals and threatens all of creation once released. The rocket goes mostly unnoticed and makes its way to an orbital path over Cape Canaveral.

Carol Danvers arrives at Cape Canaveral and is greeted by her old friend, Salia Petrie. Almost immediately, Carol is beset by another wave of intense migraines. Salia prescribes a few hours at the beach and some relaxation before they head to the Cape and the two women depart for Salia’s home via a taxi.

The next day, Carol receives a tour of the Cape from Salia and David Adamson. She notes how much it has changed since she was there just a short time before as head of security. David tells Carol that the Skylab they designed went over well and they are now going to be testing the space shuttle. Carol is hit once more by a migraine and tries to hide it. Salia notices and asks if she’s okay and Carol excuses herself to take a pill. After she’s gone, Salia expresses her concern to David. She notes that she’s known Carol for years and never seen her so strung out. David shares her concern but knows there’s nothing they can do unless Carol asks them for help.

Carol makes her way to an alleyway and falls unconscious as a seventh sense premonition forces her transformation into Ms. Marvel. Ms. Marvel immediately sense that she is near her “birthplace” as she gets a clear picture of the missile that is homing in on the Kennedy Space Center. At a nearby air force command center, military personnel pick up the AIM rocket on radar and then see a smaller blip moving to intercept. Unbeknownst to them, it’s Ms. Marvel who has flown after it to investigate. She enters outer space and marvels at her suit’s ability to create an energy field that protects her and provides her with a breathable atmosphere. She finds a hatch on the rocket and pries it open.

As the hatch opens, a gigantic metal fist emerges and deftly strikes the woman warrior. The unseen pilot veers the rocket straight towards Ms. Marvel and she meets the attack head on and rips the nose of the rocket open. The “pilot” emerges and proves to be a giant robot. Ms. Marvel is hit with a painful flash of memory and recognizes the robot as the Doomsday Man.
The Doomsday Man attacks and Ms. Marvel evades its blast. She throws a chunk of the ship’s hull at it with spectacular force but little effect. She dodges his next attack and moves in close enough for a forceful punch to the robot’s face. This also has no effect whatsoever. The Doomsday Man uses his laser to destroy the ship and the resulting explosion drives Ms. Marvel into earth’s upper atmosphere. She tries to ease her descent but her scarf is caught by the robot. She feels their momentum build and wonders if she can survive re-entry and the fall to earth.

She is shocked to learn that she can and did survive the fall and the impact. When she gains her bearings, she is once more overwhelmed by mental flashes. They call her to a nearby cave despite her desire to assure the Doomsday Man’s whereabouts. She makes her way to the cave and demands some answers. She recognizes the place and realizes she has been there before. She recalls a machine and a battle she was caught in the middle of. She then realizes that it wasn’t her who was there but Carol Danvers.
Memories flood into her as she begins to make the connections in her mind. She realizes that she is also Carol Danvers and that the two are finally merging into one to create a whole person! After months of struggling, Ms. Marvel knows who she is! Nearby, the Doomsday Man begins to track Ms. Marvel abandoning his first objective due to his fall from space and shifting to his second objective: find and destroy Ms. Marvel!

Characters Involved: 

Ms. Marvel

Mary Jane Watson

J. Jonah Jameson

Dr. Michael Barnett
Salia Petrie, David Adamson (Both NASA personnel)
Destructor/Professor Kerwin Korman

Doomsday Man

AIM Agents
Staff at the Daily Bugle and WOMAN magazine

Unnamed military personnel

In Ms. Marvel’s memories only:

Carol Danvers

Captain Mar-Vell

Story Notes: 

AIM stands for Advanced Idea Mechanics. They are a terrorist group dedicated to the acquisition, study and creation of advanced technology for both scientific and material gain. They sell their technology to the highest bidder, though the drive to be at the cutting edge of science is as great as their greed.

AIM refers to their creation of and attempts to harness the power of the Cosmic Cube. AIM first created a Cosmic Cube in TALES OF SUSPENSE #79. The Cosmic Cube was a containment field that captures the essence of an extra-dimensional entity with vast reality-warping powers. Whoever held the Cube could shape reality around them with their thoughts.

Salia Petrie was depicted as the first female astronaut for NASA to be part of a successful launch. In the real world, NASA had been training women as astronauts as early as the late 1950s. Geraldine Cobb was the first female astronaut to pass the required physical testing as part of the Mercury project but was never sent on a NASA mission. The Soviet Union launched female cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova into space in 1963, making her the first woman in space. Six women were selected for NASA training again in 1978, a year after this issue saw publication. It wasn’t until 1983 that Sally Ride became the first US woman in space.

The Doomsday Man first appeared in SILVER SURFER (1st Series) #13. He was created by Dr. Kronton to be able to survive in any environment no matter how hostile or alien.
The story title seems to be based on a play by Christopher Fry: The Lady`s not for Burning

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